On November 10, 2015, Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson announced a Kickstarter campaign to put the show back into production. An initial goal was set of $2 million (allowing the creation of three new episodes) with stretch goals of $3.3 million (six episodes), $4.4 million (nine episodes) and $5.5 million (twelve episodes). Joel made it clear that the ultimate goal was the full $5.5 million and twelve new episodes, but the goal was set lower to ensure at least some new episodes would be made.
A telethon, The Final Countdown, streamed live during the last five hours of the Kickstarter.
The campaign ultimately raised $5,764,229 on Kickstarter and at least $600,000 in "add-ons", for a end-of-campaign total of $6,364,229, enough to produce fourteen episodes (two more than the original long-term goal), including a holiday special.
The campaign was the most successful video or film project in Kickstarter history, beating the previous record held by the Veronica Mars film project by $62,076.
UpdatesThroughout the campaign, Joel has posted updates to indicate progress and make other various announcements in regards to the revival.
- Hello! Thank You! Big News! (The Kickstarter passes $1M.)
- 5 BURNING Questions About #BringBackMST3K (Joel explains the plan and where all the money goes.)
- Backer Mailbag #1. Plus, 5 Easy Ways You Can Help #BringBackMST3K!
- The Next Host of MST3K. Plus: a 24-Hour CHALLENGE! (Jonah Ray is announced as the new host, Jonah Heston.)
- Before The Full Update... (Joel pauses due to terrorist attacks in Paris.)
- Reaching Our First Goal! Why We Have To Keep Going! Plus: a sneak peek at the Official Poster!
- Your Formal Invitation to... THE MST3K TURKEY DAY '15 MARATHON
- Meet The Next Mad, Crow & Servo of MST3K. Plus, a 72-HOUR CHALLENGE! (Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn are announced as the voices of Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, respectively. Felicia Day is announced as the new Mad, Kinga Forrester.)
- HUGE Turkey Day Challenge & Reward Updates. Plus: Where to Watch Turkey Day!
- STILL GOING! Turkey Day Challenge and Deals EXTENDED THROUGH CYBER MONDAY! Plus: MST3K reruns all weekend.
- Can we reach 6 EPISODES by midnight? 4 Updates from the Future. Plus… meet our next NEXT new Mad! (Patton Oswalt announced as the new Mad henchman, TV's Son of TV's Frank.)
- We've got SIX MOVIE SIGNS!!!
- Why SIX is so much better than THREE... Why YOU'RE the future of MST3K... PLUS: sneak peek at T-SHIRTS & PATCHES!
- 70% FUNDED with ONE WEEK LEFT! Football Metaphors + A New Challenge. Plus: ADD-ON REWARDS!
- We've got 5 DAYS LEFT, we're 74% FUNDED and Joel answers 3 BIG QUESTIONS about the new episodes. Plus: bonus reward unlocked! (Joel announces a new, downloadable album of music, Songs in the Key of MST.)
- 75% Funded. 4 Days Left. PLUS: join for our LIVE "FINAL COUNTDOWN" TELETHON, this Friday at 5pm PST. (Joel announces a "telethon" for the final countdown to the Kickstarter.)
- 3 DAYS LEFT. 77% Funded. Bonus Upgrades Unlocked, Challenge Extended, and rewards from MIMOBOT & RiffTrax! (Joel announces details on various rewards, plus a free RiffTrax downloadable short for all backers (even just $1).
- 60 Hours Left: 81% FUNDED… And We Passed $4.4MM! We've Got NINE EPISODES, All-Star Guest Writers, New Rewards & More! (Various contributors to the new show are announced including Dana Gould and MST3K veterans Rob Schrab, Charlie Erickson, Beez McKeever, Crist Ballas and Paul Chaplin.)
- 48 HOURS LEFT: 84% and Climbing. More on MST3K's New Season: 11 New Artists! One Last Add-On Reward! PLUS: Telethon Meetups! (More crew announcements with work-in-progress art of Professor Bobo and Kinga Forrester. Revealed Grant Baciocco and Russ Walko as the "puppet producers" and that they have been pupetting Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo since Turkey Day '14. Also announced Making the Next MST3K: The Coffee Table Book, a volume filled with artwork for the new show.)
- 36 HOURS LEFT and We're At 87%!!! Find out who's offering to CAMEO on the next MST3K! (Joel shares a list of potential celebrity cameos including Mark Hamill, Neil Patrick Harris and Jerry Seinfeld.)
- Almost there! MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 will return... and if we can get to $5.9MM, we'll get THIRTEEN new episodes of MST3K!
- 9 HOURS LEFT!!! Here's How You Can Help Us Reach $5.9MM and Unlock NEW EPISODE #13!
- A Quick One. Longer Update coming in the Not-Too-Distant Future... (A quick recap of the end results.)
- The End of 2015: Last Words About the Not-Too-Distant Past… (Joel does a fuller wrap up of the end of the campaign.)
- The Start of 2016: A First Update About the Not-Too-Distant Future... (Joel gives an update on the state of production.)
- 2 Kickstarters Need US by FRIDAY NIGHT! PLUS: Win an MST3K SET VISIT for just $10! (Joel urges everyone to support the Kickstarters for the Rifftrax MST3K Reunion and a Frank Zappa documentary, by offering special bonuses for those who help.)
- RiffTrax Rewards and Production Updates. Plus: Making Mr. Waverly! (Some updates from the various Kickstarters mentioned earlier, as well as a look at a potential new 'Bot.)
- A Moment of Silence A brief message acknowledging the untimely death of writer Michelle McNamara, Patton Oswalt's wife.
- The Return of...The Satellite of Love! Revealing the designs of the revamped SOL.
- The Return of...Cambot! Revealing the new design of Cambot.
- Meet our new Head Writer... Elliott Kalan! Announcing the hire of Elliott Kalan in the capacity of Head Writer, with a brief message from Elliott himself.
Cast and Crew
Invitations have been extended to all previous members involved with MST3K, even if it is just to be a part of the revival in a temporary capacity. As of January 10, 2016, the following has been confirmed.
- Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston
- Hampton Yount as the voice of Crow
- Puppeteer: Grant Baciocco
- Baron Vaughn as the voice of Tom Servo
- Puppeteer: Russ Walko
- Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester, daughter of Dr. Clayton Forrester and granddaughter of Pearl Forrester
- Patton Oswalt as TV's Son of TV's Frank, son or "a clone" of TV's Frank, and guest writer
- Dan Harmon, creator of Community, host of the Harmontown podcast, co-creator of Rick & Morty
- Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick & Morty
- Rob Schrab, an original "remote writer" for MST3K, co-founder of Channel 101 and director of the sequel to The Lego Movie entitled The Lego Movie Sequel
- Nell Scovell, writer for The Muppet Show, The Simpsons, Newhart, and It's Garry Shandling's Show
- Ernie Cline, author of Ready Player One
- Pat Rothfuss, author of The Name of Wind
- Paul & Storm, W00tstock founders and stars, contributing riffs and special music
- Robert Lopez, songwriter for Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon and Frozen
- Paul Chaplin, longtime writer for MST3K
- Dana Gould, comedian, former writer on The Simpsons; possible cameo appearance in an episode
- Elliott Kalan, former Head Writer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, contributing writer for various titles from Marvel Comics, co-host of the movie-themes podcast The Flop House: Head Writer on the new series
- Charlie Erickson, composer of the original MST3K theme song and the MST3K Love Theme: returning for new arrangements
- Beez McKeever, the original "Prop Diva": returning as costume designer for the bots
- Crist Ballas, hair and makeup designer: returning for that function and special effects makeup
- Wayne White, designer for Pee-wee's Playhouse and star of the documentary Beauty is Embarassing: providing designs for the sets and possibly spaceships
- Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time: providing special animation
- Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, former writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time: specially-designed "piece" (set piece?)
- Steven Sugar, background designer on Steven Universe: design work on interiors for The Satellite of Love and the Mads' new lair.
- Guy Davis, artist for Sandman Mystery Theatre, writer/illustrator of The Marquis, character and concept designer for Guillermo del Toro on projects like Pacific Rim and The Strain: role not specified
- Frenden: character and costumne designer
- Joshua Pruett, story artist on The Croods, writer on Book of Dragons (short film set after the first How to Train Your Dragon movie), story artist/writer on Phineas and Ferb: storyboard artist for the new opening and closing of the revival
- Gary Glover, concept and artwork for films, books, games and toys: concept artwork for the series
- Marty Baumann, graphicartist for the Toy Story and Cars franchises and Big Hero 6: set concept design, and designed the mission patches offered in the Kickstarter project
- Brett 2D Bean, artist, storyboard artist, lead designer for video games and Slugterra: character designs
- Steve Vance, poster artist on the MST3K box sets released by Shout Factory: designed the offical Kickstarter project poster
- Adam Savage, co-host of Mythbusters, industrial designer, special effects designer/fabricator: "in camera" effects consultant
The following people have expressed an interest in a cameo appearance, subject to availability:
- Jack Black
- Joel McHale
- Bill Hader
- Neil Patrick Harris, co-star of Felicia Day in Doctor Horrible's Sing=Along Blog
- Jerry Seinfeld
- Mark Hamill - one of the backers of the Kickstarter project
As the campaign has progress, Joel has updated the pages cover image to show additional cast members and the percentage of the overall $5.5MM goal. This is a gallery of those cover images.
The new episodes were announced for a "Spring 2017" release.
Starting in February 2017, special screenings were held in select cities around the United States for Kickstarter backers in which the first new episode was shown. Viewers were required to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements stating that they would not reveal details about the episode (such as which movie is featured) before its release on Netflix.
On February 21st, 2017, a Netflix release date of April 14th was announced at one of the live screenings. Some attendees tweeted this new information, which was then confirmed by Joel Hodgson in an e-mail update to the backers.